“She used blood-magic?” Elspeth’s eyes narrowed. “So that’s why you smell of it.”
“Elspeth-dono.” Kenshin’s voice was level. Calm. But violet eyes had taken on the same blue sheen Kaoru had seen when he faced the yakuza; hot and dangerous as mine-gas flame. “It was many years ago. Nothing to speak of now, in these peaceful times.”
:He’s warning you off, Elspeth,: Kaoru said privately. :He’s trying to be polite about it. He knows you’re gaijin. He’s assuming you don’t know how deeply you just insulted that woman. But if this were Yamato and you were a samurai, he’d have cut you down by now. From the sound of it, she died an honorable death, and used that death to make sure he would live to carry out his duty. For a samurai, that ranks her up there with King Sendar and every Herald who’s thrown himself between Valdemar and doom.:
:Do all Yamato kill first and ask questions later?: Elspeth said dryly. :Your stray may not be the sharpest knife in the armory, Kaoru, but I doubt he’s dumb enough to attack an Adept.: “You should let Darkwind work on that. Tayledras have a knack for Healing dark magic.”
Kenshin slipped out from under the Hawkbrother’s hand, stance relaxed and ready. “Do not trouble yourself, k’Sheyna-sama.” He smiled, the fierce blue gone as if it had never been. “Sessha has carried this mark many years. It is… honorable… to recall a brave lady’s sacrifice, that it is.”
“Honorable.” Darkwind looked as if he could think of far less flattering terms.
“Remember what your distant cousins say, Tayledras. You can kill a man with a handful of maggots, if you must.” Kerowyn made shooing motions. “Out, out. It’s a long ride to Hardorn, and Tremane won’t like it if he has to deal with grumpy ambassadors.” A quick grab, and she had Yahiko by the hair. “That goes for you too, Myojin. I know your teacher. I guarantee she’s not going to go any easier on you tomorrow just because you spent last night chasing assassins.”